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Interview with Professor Charalambos Antoniades - ESC Outstanding Achievement Award Winner 2016

Exploring the cross-talk between adipose tissue and the cardiovascular system

Charis studied Medicine in Athens University Medical School and graduated with hons (top 3%) in 2000. He was awarded his PhD title with hons (Athens Medical School) on the genetics of premature myocardial infarction.



Professional Achievements

During his PhD studies Charis won multiple Young Investigator’s award (YIA) competitions, including those of the Hellenic Cardiological Society, the American College of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology twice, the International Society of Heart Research and others.

In 2011 he became a Principal Investigator in the University of Oxford and he is currently an Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, leading the Oxford Translational Cardiovascular Research group. He holds a Senior Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation and his research is focused on the study of the cross-talk between adipose tissue and the cardiovascular system in humans.

Recently he has developed a novel CT-based technology to image the quality of adipose tissue non-invasively. He practices as a Consultant Cardiologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, with clinical interest in arterial hypertension.

In 2011 he was honoured with the prestigious “K Samaras” award by the Hellenic Heart Foundation and the University of Athens, and in 2015 he gave the “John French” lecture of the British Atherosclerosis Society. He has given invited lectures in the most prestigious international scientific meetings like the American Heart Association, the European Society of Cardiology, and others.

He is also an associate editor of Cardiovascular Research, the British Journal of Pharmacology and the Hellenic Journal of Cardiology. He is board member of the British Atherosclerosis Society and one of the founders of the Scientists of Tomorrow of the ESC’s Council on Basic Cardiovascular Science.

Research

Charis’ research is focused on the study of the cross-talk between adipose tissue and the cardiovascular system in humans. During the last decade, he explored the role of adipose tissue in the regulation of cardiovascular redox signalling, using ex vivo models of human tissue, cell culture and animal models.

He has established the Oxford Heart, Vessels & Fat (ox-HVF) cohort, that performs extensive molecular phenotyping of human tissue, linking the biology with clinical outcomes. He has recently discovered a range of signalling molecules released from the human vessels and myocardium, able to exert paracrine effects on the neighbouring perivascular or epicardial adipose tissue, modifying its biology.

This novel “inside-to-outside” signals, form part of the physiological response of the cardiovascular system to vascular or myocardial inflammation/oxidative stress; healthy adipose tissue receives these signals and responds by secreting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant molecules towards the cardiovascular system (“outside-to-inside” signalling). Unravelling these communication networks between adipose tissue and the cardiovascular system, provided new insights into the obesity paradox, with direct clinical implications. 

Charis’ team has recently developed a novel CT-based technology to quantify vascular inflammation non-invasively, while it is working on developing new molecular imaging tools to visualise the quality (rather than the quantity) of adipose tissue in the human body.